Monday, December 19, 2016

Taking the Media with a Chunk of Salt

For the last couple of weeks Republican electors who meet today to make the election of Donald Trump official, have had their lives threatened, they've had their businesses hurt, they've been harassed in big ways and small all by Democrats who want them to withhold their vote for Trump. If enough of them (37) refuse to cast a vote as directed by their state's voters then Trump would fail to get the 270 votes he needs to be declared President-elect. Of course, the decision would then be thrown into the House of Representatives which is dominated by Republicans so he'd eventually be elected anyway.

What's very disturbing about this is not the possibility of Trump not being elected - he will be - but rather the threats of physical and economic harm that are being visited on Republican electors if they don't fulfill their responsibility to vote as directed by their state. Imagine the outrage had Hillary Clinton won on November 9th and Trump's supporters issued similar threats against her electors. Our democracy, it would be declared over and over on the cable talk shows and nightly news, is teetering on the brink of anarchy and fascism. Since, however, this is just a case of liberal Democrats behaving badly the intimidation is treated as a minor news story.

Recall the teeth-gnashing that the liberal media engaged in when Trump indicated that he might not accept the results of the election. This was interpreted as a threat to American democracy by much of the media and the left, but when Hillary and her supporters refuse to accept the results of the election it's portrayed in the media as just the normal boisterousness that results from people understandably disappointed that their candidate lost. People have rioted in the streets, damaged property, harmed others, and it's regarded as little more than a lamentable, but understandable, expression of grief.

The First Lady tells us that the American people now know what hopelessness feels like, and few stop to ask what would have been the reaction had Laura Bush said that Barack Obama's election filled the American people with hopelessness. The very thought would have been imputed to pervasive white racism and resentment that a black man was going to be president.

We've been told that Donald Trump has no qualifications for the office of the presidency, which may be true, but when the criticism is made by people who swooned over the election in 2008 of a man with a far thinner resume than Trump's it's laughable. Barack Obama never ran a business, never worked for a paycheck, never served in the military, never accomplished much of anything. He was catapulted into the White House because America wanted to demonstrate that it had left its racist legacy behind, and he seemed like the best available candidate to represent a post-racial America.

We've been told that Trump's pick for Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, has no foreign policy experience and is thus unqualified for the post. Perhaps so, but how many of the people making this allegation today were appalled that Mr. Obama picked for his first Secretary of State a woman, Hillary Clinton, who had even less foreign policy experience than does Tillerson?

We've been told that the closeness of Trump and Tillerson to the Russians is deeply troubling, which it is, but when the concern is raised by people who were BFFs up until the day before yesterday with the old Soviet communists and the current Russian communists, the credibility of the charge is greatly diminished.

It might be a good rule of thumb for anyone watching or reading political commentary - whenever a criticism is leveled at Trump, his party, his supporters or his administration - to ask themselves whether the same reproach applies, and to what extent, to Mr. Obama, his party, his supporters or his administration. If so, did the people expressing such deep anxiety today express the same apprehensions about the Democrats? And if not, why are they expressing it now?

The tendency of much of the media in this country today to denounce in one party what they ignore, or even applaud, in the other is the chief reason the media has lost the trust of the American people who view almost the whole establishment as little different than the National Enquirer. For many, none of it is trustworthy. It's all "fake news."